Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Receive the Holy Spirit"

Issue Date: May 24, 2009
Pentecost Sunday (PentecostB)

Dear Friends:

This weekend, Pentecost Sunday ends the season of Easter. It was on this day when the disciples came out of the room, lit up by the Holy Spirit, and started telling the people they met about Jesus. Our Discussion Questions this week will help your bible study sessions with your family, friends or church group.

THE BIRTH OF THE CHURCH. What is Pentecost? Robert Longman Jr. begins this issue with a very informative piece about the bible origins and traditions that brought us the celebrations we associate with this feast today. It was on this day that the Church was born, Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen explains, with the first band of disciples leaving the room to openly preach about Jesus. It was made clear then, according to Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS, that God’s act of salvation in Christ was to be, and needs to be, communicated to all.

It must have been a sight to see the disciples first come out and preach about Jesus. Fr. Alfred McBride offers a very picturesque description of that fateful first Pentecost day. It was the day, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm says, when we celebrate the wonderful good news that the risen Lord has poured out his Spirit upon us. This is the same Holy Spirit that Fr. Phil Bloom says is the soul's most welcome guest because He enables us to pray and empowers us to act.

Fr. Joseph Pelligrino wonders aloud how it could be possible that those disciples, many of whom probably could not even read, could begin a movement of love that would embrace the world? While Father Cusick explains that Pentecost inaugurates the “last days” of which Christ spoke during his earthly life and, at the same time, equips the faithful with the wisdom necessary to grasp a proper understanding of what the “last days” mean.

POURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. On Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples as if tongues of fire. Fr. John Foley, SJ wonders why can’t you and I be present for such an entrance of the Holy Spirit? Does the lack of all this mean that we are not filled with the Spirit as they were? Fr. Alex McAllister preaches that this great outpouring of the Holy Spirit was not a one-off event but something that continues in the Church right up to the present day.

BORN AGAIN. Anyone with aspirations to human perfection ought to investigate Catholicism seriously. Dr. Jeff Mirus explains. And in case you've wondered, Christians from other non-Catholic communities who wish to join the Catholic Church are described as coming into “full communion” because they are already joined to the one Church in an “imperfect” or incomplete communion. That is why we don't “re-baptize” them. And you've also probably wondered why Protestants always added to the Our Father the words that Catholics didn’t add: “For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever. Amen.” We explain why.

SIT, STAND, KNEEL, BOW. And we answer one more question: Why do we Catholics assume different postures at different parts of the celebration of the Mass? Legionary of Christ Father Edward McNamara offers a very good asnwer to the very same question posed by a reader.

CHINA, RECESSION & FACEBOOK A new report places China's Catholic population at 130 million or 10% of its population. The encouraging story is that in recent years, the Chinese government has shifted from persecution of Christians to subtle — and sometimes even open — encouragement of Christianity. From the US, its bishops offers a Catholic Reaction to the Recession with an informative ten-point guide that they offer at their website. And from the Vatican, Pope Benedict encouraged our Catholic youth to use social media - like Facebook - to spread the good news online.

PROP 8, NOTRE DAME & FAMILY LIFE. In a successful gain for California families, the California Court this week upheld the state's ban protecting marriage, a decision that is seen as a sign of respect for voter rights. And following last week's news that Americans are now pedominantly Pro-Life for the first time in recent history, here's more good news. Former supermodel Kathy Ireland joined the ranks of formerly pro-abortion celebrities when she went on national TV and gave a spirited difense of Right to Life.

NOTRE DAME, FINALLY. We've finally ran across the one single article about the Notre Dame controversy that we feel is inspiring enough to publish. So here is the text of the inspiring homily given May 17 by Father Kevin Russeau at the Mass during the Prayerful Protest on the University of Notre Dame's campus during President Obama's visit to the campus.

THE BIBLE, WICKER BASKETS & THE NEWT. Paul Dion, STL shares a story of an old man who gives his young grandson a wonderful life lesson about reading the bible. And you've probably heard that Newt Gingrich has converted to Catholicism. he finally explains "The moment that finally convinced me to convert..."

You've probably seen this red Asian hot sauce in many Asian restaurants and even regular grocery stores. It's Sriracha Hot Sauce - the new fortune cookie of our times. It's spicy flavor is fast gaining a multitude of fans, even among non-Asians. And here's the rub. Just like the fortune cookie, did you know that this popular Thai hot sauce is actually an American invention?

Another interesting week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.
Wally Arida Publisher & Editor in chief

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